White Collar Litigation and Investigations
Practice Leader: Thomas M. Gallagher
Pepper Hamilton LLP’s White Collar Litigation and Investigations team includes former FBI director and federal judge Louis J. Freeh, and a highly skilled group of former judges, federal and state prosecutors, and experienced corporate counsel. This team brings unparalleled expertise and judgment to legal representation in these areas:
- White Collar Defense and Regulatory Enforcement
- Corporate Investigations
- Business Integrity, Compliance and Ethics
Our services are complemented by our alliance with Freeh Group International Solutions, LLC (FGIS), a global risk management firm. FGIS serves a diverse range of organizations in many industries, working to reduce risk in today’s increasingly dangerous and complicated global marketplace. More information about FGIS is available at www.freehgroup.com
White Collar Defense
We represent clients facing investigation or prosecution by federal and state authorities, including the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Attorneys’ offices, state attorneys general and Congressional oversight committees. We have defended clients in high-profile investigations and enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), DOJ Antitrust division, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS OIG) and its Office of Human Research Protections, state departments of health and state Medicaid fraud control units, and numerous other agencies in sensitive criminal and civil investigations. Our broad and deep experience in the representation of clients facing parallel civil and criminal investigations results in a well-coordinated team of specialists able to defend clients on all fronts.
We conduct internal investigations for our clients. We frequently counsel clients long before government action, including regulatory counseling on industry risk areas. Pepper has successfully negotiated declination of prosecutions, based on thorough investigations that address the government’s concerns. Pepper knows how prosecutors, investigators and regulators approach industry-specific legal and regulatory issues, which informs our judgment and ability to effectively investigate on behalf of our clients. We handle the most complex and sensitive investigations, anywhere on the globe. Such investigations can include those related to criminal investigations or other misconduct that has occurred in an organization, including, where appropriate, forensic reviews and asset recovery services.
Business Integrity, Compliance, and Ethics
Whether wrongdoing is suspected or not, all businesses in today’s legal environment need effective compliance programs that set the standards the organization and its employees must meet, and monitor the organization’s efforts to do so. Ensuring business integrity has never been more important, as multinational companies face new and complex challenges to operating lawfully and ethically in today’s global economy. We are experienced in designing and implementing effective internal compliance programs in a variety of industries and jurisdictions. Such programs are designed to fit specific regulatory or industry standards (such as health care or antitrust), and include training tools to help educate employees, and audit procedures to help measure compliance. We also conduct due diligence reviews of international business partners, and counsel on steps clients can take to ensure maximum protection, including helping businesses considering mergers and acquisitions to assess and protect against corruption and other risks to integrity.
We are experienced and capable in serving as monitors of organizations that are subject to a government consent decree or court order requiring oversight of their compliance efforts. The lawyers at Pepper are highly experienced in investigating, evaluating and monitoring effective remedial actions and internal controls following allegations of illegal activity or other improper conduct.
AREAS OF FOCUS
Health Care and Pharmaceutical
Entities operating in the health care space increasingly are targeted by the DOJ, HHS OIG, individual U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and state attorneys general, all seeking to enforce a wide range of fraud and abuse laws, such as the False Claims Act, the Anti-Kickback Act, Medicare and Medicaid regulations, the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Prescription Drug Marketing Act, the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), health care fraud and other criminal statutes.
We represent clients facing investigation and prosecution by state and federal authorities, including the U.S. Attorneys’ offices, state attorneys general and Congressional oversight committees. Our broad and deep industry experience is the cornerstone of our white collar defense and corporate investigation practice in the health care and pharmaceutical space. Representative engagements include:
- major pharmaceutical companies and medical device companies facing government investigations
- health insurance providers and retail pharmacy chains facing government investigation under the False Claims Act
- internal investigations for major pharmaceutical companies and other health care entities regarding the conduct of clinical trials, sales and marketing practices, pricing, good manufacturing practices and other issues
- hospitals facing criminal, civil and regulatory investigations by multiple federal and state agencies.
Corporations and corporate employees are scrutinized by the SEC, self-regulatory organizations such as FINRA, the DOJ and state agencies regarding compliance with securities laws. We are experienced in counseling and defending clients at every stage of these matters – from the informal inquiry stage, through the investigation and the “Wells” process, at trial or hearing, and on appeal. Our team includes many veterans of the SEC, including a former branch chief in the Division of Enforcement.
We have guided clients through investigations and litigation involving allegations of insider trading, improper revenue recognition and other types of financial fraud, market manipulation, mutual fund market timing and late trading, improper sales practices, excessive markups and advisory fees, inadequate supervision of securities professionals and accounting irregularities by corporate executives.
Representative engagements include:
- defended a diversified holding company and its chairman in three-year SEC investigation
- obtained defense verdict on behalf of former CFO in trial against claims of accounting fraud brought by the SEC
- represented a medical device company in a FINRA and SEC inquiry into insider trading; no charges filed.
The Department of Justice Corporate Fraud Task Force was constituted to attack all types of alleged fraud in the corporate world after high-profile prosecutions of Enron, WorldCom and other entities. Our former federal prosecutors bring their significant government experience to bear on these complex investigations with corporate death penalty potential.
Representative engagements include representing:
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
- pharmaceutical companies facing federal and state parallel investigations
- government contractors facing fraud investigations and qui tam complaints
- a defense contractor in a Congressional investigation conducted by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
- a food manufacturer in a criminal and regulatory investigation of environmental issues involving federal, state and county authorities.
Numerous sophisticated companies have run afoul of anti-corruption laws such as the FCPA, which criminalizes bribery of foreign government officials and requires that all payments be accurately recorded in company books. The law often holds U.S. companies liable for improper actions of international business subsidiaries, as well as international business partners. Laws in other countries have similar reach, and international enforcement is expanding at a fast pace. In this environment, companies risk significant liability for turning a “blind eye” to potential wrongdoing by international business partners.
To address these risks, we provide experienced guidance to ensure that our clients’ compliance and risk management programs are deterring and detecting potential anti-corruption issues. We evaluate and design effective programs to meet specific risks of our clients’ international operations. Our due diligence reviews of international business partners includes counseling on the design of FCPA and anti-corruption training programs and codes of conduct tailored to specific businesses and industries and designed to be integrated throughout an organization. We also conduct internal investigations of suspected corrupted payments, and design remedial strategies to best protect our clients.
Pepper provides a team of experienced professionals seasoned by years of running law enforcement agencies and counseling international businesses on compliance issues. We also draw on the experience of FGIS to deliver solutions to clients facing the most challenging compliance issues.